14 Nov 2009

Support for child discipline law change fragile - PM

4:33 pm on 14 November 2009

Prime Minister John Key says he recognises there is still a need to build public confidence in the child discipline laws.

A Government review has found parents are not being subjected to unnecessary state intervention as a result of the changes to the law in 2007.

Mr Key says the findings show the law is working, but he knows many people remain unconvinced.

"I recognise the fragile nature of the way the public treat this law and we're working to try and give them as much confidence, as much information, as we can."

The 2007 law change removed the defence of reasonable force for the purposes of correction.

As part of the Government's response to the recent smacking referendum this review, carried out by the Social Development Ministry, was brought forward.

The report says, according to the available information, there has not been unwarranted investigation or prosecution by the police or Child, Youth and Family.

The only recommendation is that clearer data be collected, to ensure the findings of future reviews accurately reflect what is happening in the community.

Another review, which is ongoing, is examining current policies and procedures to ensure parents are being treated as Parliament intended.